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Snapshots from Germany, part 2

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Part 1 of my snapshots from Germany was all about nature: fields, forests, and the like. Part 2 is about the human environment: photos taken in the town where I grew up and in neighboring villages. Even though time has marched on, there are still buildings dating back centuries. It boggles the mind to think that the town where I was raised was founded in 976, while the city in California were I now live was incorporated in 1917! View from my late cousin's property on the edge of the forest Downtown Hersbruck Road shot Old barn in a neighboring village Barn wall with tree trunks—not sure what they'll be used for Barn window Ivy-covered facade in another nearby village This dilapidated building is uninhabitable, but since it's under heritage protection, it cannot be torn down. It's so far gone that renovations would be cost-prohibitive, so it just sits there. This is a problem all over Germany. Same house from a different angle The old farmhouse across the street from my

Snapshots from Germany, part 1

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I just got back from a trip to Germany to visit family. I didn't do any traveling around Germany—I just spent time with my kinfolk—but I still managed to take a bunch of photos I'd love to share with you. If I had to sum up my visual impressions in one word, it would be green. No: make that GREEN . Even though California is still clinging to the last remnants of spring verdure, the signs of the worst megadrought in 1200 years are everywhere. As a result, the contrast between California and Germany couldn't have been greater. See for yourself. The first set of photos was taken at my late cousin's property on the edge of the forest.  The woods looked as inviting as can be. No Brothers Grimm fright fest here! The apple trees in my cousin's orchard were in full bloom. The white of the flowers contrasted beautifully with the yellow of the dandelions. More tree tapestries from elsewhere in town: The panorama below is my favorite photo of this trip. It was pouring when I

Visiting Agave utahensis var. eborispina in habitat

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As I mentioned in my post about Agave utahensis  var. nevadensis , seeing the two varieties of Agave utahensis  native to western Nevada—var. nevadensis  and var. eborispina —in habitat was a bucket list experience. It's one thing coming across cool plants in a botanical garden or a private collection, but something else entirely being able to study them where they grow naturally.  In the case of Agave utahensis  var. eborispina , that environment is harsh in every conceivable sense of the word. It's amazing to see how well these plants have adapted. They thrive in extreme temperatures from below 0°F in the winter to above 110°F in the summer, and they make do with very little soil, sometimes appearing to grow right out of solid limestone. Agave utahensis  var. eborispina Agave utahensis  var. eborispina  differs from var. nevadensis  in leaf color (olive green vs. blue green) and length of spines: The terminal spines of var.  eborispina  are noticeably longer, sometimes twiste